Progress Is… The Starter With Chef Alex

For Food Network star chef and executive chef of Butter Midtown Alex Guarnaschelli, progress is building your legacy. That’s because she discovered her own passion for cooking while helping her mother prepare family dinner as a child. Those experiences taught Chef Alex that the best meals are those that allow us to feel connected to others. To that end, she has always strived to make food that is progressive. For her, that means making food that not only satisfies hunger, but also reminds her guests of the connections they share with the loved ones who introduced them to their favorite foods.

The first thing New York City-based Chef Alex does when preparing progressive cuisine at Manhattan’s stylish eatery Butter Midtown is pay a visit to the Union Square Greenmarket. For Chef Alex, the benefits of shopping there are twofold: One, she gets access to the fresh ingredients that will allow her to create dishes that will truly resonate with her patrons; and two, the range of flavorful and fragrant seasonal produce on display inspires her to think of ways to reinvent old favorites.

As a child, her two cookbook editor parents spent a lot of time thinking about the different ways they could combine the ingredients they had available to them to make the most compelling dishes possible. It was that progressive approach that made Alex love cooking as a child, and it drives her approach to preparing food today.

After navigating the concrete jungle in her stylish and comfortable 2018 Audi SQ5, Alex begins browsing for seasonable ingredients. For her appetizer, she has decided on a Galia melon soup, a chilled soup made from pureed Galia melons, which taste like passion fruit mixed with honeydew melon. Find the full recipe for this appetizer below.

In creating a culinary experience that is both familiar and uniquely new, Chef Alex knows that the sumptuous seasonal appetizer she prepared for her patrons will generate lots of return business for Butter.

 

Galia Melon Soup
Serves 4

 

Soup:

2 large Galia melons
The juice from 2 lemons
1 cup sparkling apple cider (non-alcoholic)
1/4 cup cold water (optional)
2-3 teaspoons honey (optional)

 

Topping:

1 medium hothouse cucumber, peeled and diced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Prepare the melon: Place the Galia melons on a flat surface and split them in half. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh in small increments. The goal is to tightly pack 4 cups of melon flesh.
  2. Puree the soup: Place the Galia melon in the blender and add the lemon juice and cider. Puree until smooth and taste for seasoning. Add the honey, if needed. Use the water if more liquid is needed. Pour the soup into a medium bowl. Refrigerate.
  3. Serve the soup: Season the cucumber lightly with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, pour the soup into the chilled bowls and add some of the cucumber and to each.
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